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Memory magic: cosmopolitanism and the Magical Life of Long Tack Sam
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Daniella Trimboli
The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam is a two-part project created by Canadian-based filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming. The project traces the history of Fleming's Chinese ancestor, Long Tack Sam, and presents it in a documentary (2003) and an accompanying graphic novel (2007). In the concluding moments of the documentary, Fleming comments 'memory is a type of magic'. This point provides a useful hook to summarize Fleming's aesthetic practice, which can be translated into a productive model of cosmopolitanism. Her 'memory-magic' involves four 'tricks', or techniques: the revealing of history and modernity as smoke and mirrors; the acceptance and engagement with the unknown or yet-to-be-experienced, and the deconstruction of common notions of time and place. This paper thus argues that Fleming's project aligns itself with what can be described as a critical, vernacular cosmopolitanism.